One local mom has found a way to embrace two priorities in her life at the same time — spending time with her 2-year-old daughter and owning her own business.
Heather Jenkins, a Destin resident, has had a dream since high school of owning her own business, and that it would be a ladies' boutique clothing store, as she is into fashion.
However, once her daughter was born, she thought her first dream would have to wait.
But with encouragement from friends and family and the promise of the Internet, Jenkins realized she could have it all.
She founded Ella Madison Boutique online in November 2012.
Jenkins buys different clothing lines wholesale from various markets around the United States, then offers them to customers at her Ella Madison Boutique website. She describes the line as consisting mostly of contemporary ladies' styles that appeal to women from ages 13 to her grandmother at age 82.
In addition to clothing, Jenkins also carries scarves, jewelry, and other accessory "necessities."
Her customers come to her through her Facebook page, her blog she posts to daily, and locally, by word of mouth.
"It's going well," she said. "I work with bloggers all over the United States and ship to those who purchase."
However, if a potential buyer is local, she will meet them.
Jenkins said she has not encountered any issues with selling online. She provides sizing information on each item and if it runs small or large, she states that in the description on the website. Her return policy is store credit within 14 days from the date the customer receives the item.
"As the boutique's only employee, I take pride in offering great customer service and fast shipping," she said.
Jenkins said she also prides herself in making an effort to specialize in the latest trends in women's clothing and accessories at affordable prices with dress prices ranging from $25 to $50. Her scarves and jewelry sell for less.
Gift vouchers can be purchased for use on the website.
At present, her store's items are only available online, but she is looking at opening a storefront eventually.
"By opening online, I can continue being a stay-at-home mom," said Jenkins.
Ella Madison Boutique is named after her daughter.
Jenkins is receiving guidance in her venture from her parents as her mother managed several stores.
She is available for trunk shows and has been partnering with Abrakadoodle Art Education in the Destin Commons each month for a trunk show and painting party, with a portion of each purchase donated to charity.
"It makes for a fun ladies night out," she said.
She is holding her first in-home trunk show later this month.
Those interested in hosting can contact Jenkins for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://shopellamadison.com online or on Facebook.